November 23, 2020
A daily prayer during this COVID-19 crisis
During these difficult days, members of the Granite District of the New England Conference are sharing a daily prayer based on the Revised Common Lectionary for the week.
You are welcome to use these in worship or in your own devotions.
Inspired by Mark 13:24-37
24 But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven…and…33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.
Upon entering the threshold of Advent, we wait in joyful anticipation and longing for the fulfillment of that which you bestowed upon us – the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our annual awakening of his presence in our life. It is also the time of Thanksgiving where we take stock, consider, remember, and think about all our accumulated experiences that represent our life by sharing with our families and friends. It is a time of communal sharing that not only includes those closest to us but also those who are unknown. But, even in times of celebration Mark chastens us to “keep alert” for the second coming. Even at the onset of the Advent celebration, Mark’s scripture reading encourages us to not simply await Christ’s coming at some point down the road but rather to stay in the moment. It seems that rather than waiting – we need to “keep alert” so that we can embrace the future by being firmly focused in the present. Rather than an event, Christ’s coming again should simply be a part of the fabric in our life whether it is this morning, this afternoon, this evening or, sometime down the road. As believers we must embrace the moment, keep our focus and continue in the recognition that the season of Advent is a time of hope, of longing to know God more fully and to experience God’s love through Christ’s presence in our lives.
Gracious and loving God…
In this darkened time of a global pandemic, we seek your grace and guidance by helping to hold us in the moment. We ask that you help us to reach into ourselves and also out to one another in a full embrace of love for all humanity regardless of race, regardless of perspective, regardless of lifestyle so that we may come together as a people in support of one another.
Give us the strength to work together in unison by guiding us as we deepen our knowledge, our learnings and our solutions to the challenges before us so that we can share total love with all mankind. Fill us with your grace, mercy and love through your inexhaustible presence. Cheer our hearts with the celebration of Jesus' birth as a loving embrace of all people throughout all lands. Transform us from an inwardly facing people to an outwardly focused force of love in all that we do and share. Guide us to become one body working in unison to meet the challenges of the present with the strength of the past and the resolute intention for a future together.
And finally, our loving God, we ask that you keep Christ before us as the candle of hope on any paths of darkness we experience in these trying times. In your name we ask for peace among us and strength before us. Amen.
Prayer by Kevin Fickenscher, MD, Laity, First UMC, Portsmouth, NH, Granite District